News Briefs – July 16, 2018

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U.S. service member killed in Afghanistan; 2nd in 6 days

One American service member was killed in combat in eastern Afghanistan on July 12, the U.S. military said.
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, of Summerville, S.C., died of wounds from enemy small arms fire.
Celiz was based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga.
In addition to their support for Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, U.S. forces are combatting extremist groups in eastern Afghanistan, mainly the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate in the province of Nangarhar.
The U.S. military said one Afghan security force member also was killed and several were wounded in Thursday’s incident.
It was the second U.S. military death in Afghanistan in less than one week. On July 7, Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, of South Gate, California, was killed by what the U.S. is investigating as a possible attack by a member of the Afghan military.
The July 12 death marked the fourth American service member to be killed in Afghanistan this year. On Jan. 1, Army Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, 34, of Fort Lee, N.J., was killed in fighting in Nangarhar province, and on April 30, Army Spec. Gabriel D. Conde, 22, of Loveland, Colo., was killed in Kapisa province.
The U.S. has about 15,000 troops in Afghanistan. AP
 

Mexico’s president-elect says he’ll stop U.S. copter purchase

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he will cancel the pending purchase by Mexico’s navy of eight armed Lockheed Martin MH-60R helicopters from the United States government.
Lopez Obrador mentioned nixing the planned $1.2 billion deal July 11 as an example of extensive cost-cutting measures his government will undertake.
In April, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of the helicopters, saying it would improve the security of a strategic regional partner. In its statement then, it said the helicopters would help Mexico fight criminal organizations.
The State Department’s Bureau of Political Military Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of the proposed sale.
Lopez Obrador won Mexico’s July 1 election in a landslide. He is to take office Dec. 1. AP